Buyer’s remorse about Canada’s euthanasia regime?

Nearly seven years after the legalisation of Canada’s Medical Aid in Dying (MAiD) euthanasia program, more than 40,000 Canadians have received MAiD with many more applying for the procedure, some for concerns which could be easily resolved.

However it appears that Canadians, touted as being overwhelmingly in support of euthanasia, are waking up to the catastrophic consequences the legislation has caused.

The Fifth Estate, a Canadian investigative documentary program which “exposes wrongdoing in all corners of Canada and holds those responsible to account”, recently conducted an investigation into the country’s euthanasia regime and asked the question: Is it too easy to die in Canada?

The episode looked at some of the “surprising” approvals for euthanasia and interviewed Canadians who had sought the procedure for themselves for issues such as diabetes, potential homelessness and depression.

Catherine Frazee, Former Chief Commissioner of Ontario Human Rights Commission and disability advocate spoke to The Fifth Estate, saying the situation playing out in Canada is exactly what they warned about.

We let the genie out of the bottle, and now we’re seeing the very real and very catastrophic consequences that people with disabilities had warned about.

It’s now possible for you or someone you love to receive death as a form of “healthcare” treatment, upon request.

And those reasons, it appears they don’t have to be medical, the law says they do, but that’s not how it’s playing out.

An increasing number of stories continue to flow out of Canada of people with chronic but treatable conditions applying and being approved for euthanasia.

Frazee says the Canadian response to this epidemic is deeply troubling.

How should we respond to someone whose anguish is very clearly articulated as “I need help. I need a few extra hours of home care a day otherwise my life is unbearable”?

I don’t know what it says about us that our response instead is to say “well, that’s tough. That’s tragic. How about we offer you the choice to end your life?”.

Former president of the Canadian Psychiatric Association, Dr. Sonu Gaind, says he is appalled by the country’s approach to euthanasia, saying “there hasn’t been a slippery slope, I think we’ve fallen off a cliff. How many wrongful deaths are too many?”

I don’t think people would actually support it if they fully understood what was going on.

Our law is supposed to be about providing MAiD when a medical condition is irremediable, meaning we can predict it won’t get better. All of the evidence shows that our ability to predict when a mental illness will, or will not, improve doesn’t exist.

It’s no better than chance. It’s literally like flipping a coin.

Kiano Vafaeian agreed to be interviewed about his experience when he applied for euthanasia at just 23 years old because of diabetes and ensuing complications. His request was approved, but his mother and family were able to dissuade him.

Kiano still doesn’t know how he feels about euthanasia, but asked why he agreed to speak out he said:

I feel like to do this interview was a part of my will to live. I feel like it’s a part of me trying to change my mind, me trying to have hope, and follow a purpose in life rather than choose death.

There’s always hope.

You can watch the episode from The Fifth Estate here.